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HTC One X – A Smart King

Stonking performance, a stunning screen and one of HTC’s best designs make this a new smartphone king.

[PC Supporter]

PC Pro [Jul 2012]

htc-one-x-pressFew of HTC’s offerings have threatened the smartphone industry’s top table of late, with its somewhat bland offerings largely overtaken by fancier phones from Samsung and Apple. But HTC’s latest flagship handset, the One X, looks set to take back lost ground.

It isn’t a phone we’d ever accuse of playing safe. The white rear, with its protruding silver camera lens, looks and feels superb, and we can’t fault HTC for build quality either. The One X is sturdy despite its 8.9mm-thick, 130g frame, and while there have been reports of the screen flexing when gripped tightly, that’s very fine indeed. The solid build can be put down to the construction, the One X is milled from a single block of polycarbonate, just like the Nokia Lumia 800.

It’s that screen that steals the show. It’s a 4.7in IPS panel with a resolution of 720 x 1280, that gives a pixel density of 312ppi not for behind the iPhone’s 330ppi and makes for consistently stunning experience. There’s plenty of space for full sized web pages, and text is pin sharp.

It isn’t only the increase in resolution; the quality is great, too. Its 490cd/m2 maximum brightness can’t math the iPhone’s 581cd/m2, but it’s far ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S II’s 300cd/m2, and it’s matched with a contrast ratio of 1138, lending images a real solidity and depth.

Processing power comes from Nvidia’s 1.5GHz quad-core Tegra 3 chip, partnered with 1GB of RAM. Is has 32GB of storage, of which 26GB can be used for data and apps, but there’s no microSD card slot to add more. For communications you get the choice of 3G, 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4, and it has NFC.

The specification makes the One X the most powerful smartphone we’ve tested. Its Quadrant benchmark score of 4927 streaks ahead of the 3460 scored by the Galaxy S II, and it completed the SunSpider benchmark in 2071ms. that’s a third quicker than the Samsung, and just ahead of the iPhone 4S.

No game stretched the HTC’s GPU. High octane shooter Shadowgun ran flawlessly, 3D adventure title Dungeon Defenders was similarly slick, and Reckless Racing 2 also delivered rock solid frame rates. A word of warning, though: while things were fine away from the mains, running  these games while charging saw the handset grow unbearably hot. That aside, battery life was decent, with 60% of the 1800mAh power pack left after the 24 hour rundown test. Just don’t expect such longevity when gaming: a 30 minutes sting during a train commute saw the bar fall by almost a third.

The One X comes with Android 4 onboard, partnered with the latest version of HTC’s Sense UI. HTC has ditched the curved graphics at the bottom of each homescreen, replacing them with square icons, but it looks and functions as well as ever, with the usual line up of handy widgets.

HTC doesn’t bundle Beats branded headphones with this device, but the Beats audio kit inside the One X serves up bass heavy, a good quality sound.

It isn’t all good news, though. The Notification drawer has vanished, and virtually every app has a separate menu button that takes up a 96 pixel chunk across the bottom of the screen.

These are small complaints, however, with the 8 megapixel camera more than making amends. Quality is excellent, with sharp detail and accurate colors, and a flash is included. Shots are taken almost instantly, and there are panorama and burst modes too; the latter takes up to 99 shots as quickly as possible, and even picks the “best” one out for you. The camera also shoots 1080p video and, again, quality is excellent, autofocus is quick to lock on, and detail is extremely sharp.

The best camera & performance result, shown in this video clip.

It’s a fine all round package, then, but it’s impossible to ignore the shadow of Samsung’s impending Galaxy S III, It’s also said to have a 4.7in, 720 x 1280 screen, a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and Ice Cream Sandwich. If past standards are any indication, it may be the phone to beat.

For now, though, no other phone can match the HTC One X. It offers stupendous speed, a stunning screen, and a strong, attractive design, all of which combine to make it the best smartphone on the block. After something of a barren patch it’s good to see HTC back.

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